Despite promising economic growth figures of 1.5% this year, the Netherlands still has a long way to go to close the gap caused by the economic crisis, prime minister Mark Rutte has warned.
Speaking at a symposium in The Hague, the prime minister said the figures from the government’s macro-economic forecasting agency CPB sounded good but still have to be realised.
In addition, the government wants the economy to grow more strongly to cope with extra spending, such as the cost of healthcare, he said.
‘The cabinet’s core strategy remains making sure the Netherlands emerges from the crisis in a stronger position,’ the prime minister said.
Adding to the calls for caution, finance minister Jan Kees de Jager wrote on his weblog that the government is facing a €2bn shortfall on this year’s budget.
In the coalition agreement, ministers agreed to look for cuts themselves if they overspend their departments’ budgets. Most of the overspend will fall on the health ministry, De Jager said.
In addition, the social affairs ministry has spent €200m too much on childcare, De Jager said. The government has also benefited from some financial windfalls, but the minister did not reveal how much.
The exact figures will be released in June, when De Jager publishes his spring financial statement.
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